Bond refund and buyback to net $214k
By Dean Shipley
Press Staff Writer
Two Madison county commissioners, Mark Forrest and Paul Gross —David Dhume was attending a conference — signed a resolution on Monday to refund some bonds and buy them back at a lower interest rate.
As a result county taxpayers will save more than $200,000. The bonds included those issued in 2001 for debt on a county building used by the county engineer’s office and others. Of the $3 million issued, $637,350 remain outstanding at an interest rate of 5 percent.
The commissioners can, by law, refund those bonds and take advantage of a lower interest rate, 2.75 percent. That difference of 2.25 percent interest will save $151,957. By buying the bonds, which will be issued for six years, the county will earn interest of $62,193.
With the interest income and a savings on the interest the total savings is $214,150.
“We get rid of the middle man,” Gross said. “We’re issuing them back to ourselves, serving as the bank.”
Gross called it a “double win for the county.”
• In other business, the commissioners had a lengthy discussion with Julia Cumming and spokespersons for the department of agriculture over language in a contract which determines the control of some $375,000 which is intended to be used for farmland preservation.
The dollars emanate from a federal grant whose purpose is to grant permanent easements for selected acreage. With a permanent easement attached, the land must always be used for agriculture and can never be sold off for commercial or residential development.
Cumming had questions about language introduced into the document which gave the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture the power to spend the federal grant dollars at his discretion.
Denise King, speaking for the department of agriculture called the language generalized.
“If the locals spend the dollars on farmland preservation, that should be sufficient,” she said. “We tried to make this as fair to local government as we could.”
She said the document will be referred to their attorneys for review.
If the language stands “we’ll take a pass” on the funds Gross said.
Cumming said the transaction was to “close” by the end of the year, but this new wrinkle puts that in doubt.
“It’s different (language) than we started with 18 months ago,” Cumming said.
Gross said, “because it changed a week ago, we need to stand our ground.”